Author Archives: Mangrove Action Project

The MAP News, 435th Ed., 03 February 2018

Sometimes, progress means helping nature do what it does best. This seems to be the case for a once-barren 200-acre piece of land surrounded by lush mangrove forests in El Salvador. The most extensive remaining mangrove forest in Central America is located in the Bay of Jiquilisco in the Lower Lempa region of El Salvador. At 632 square kilometers, the Bay of Jiquilisco is El Salvador’s largest wetlands complex and protected area, designated as both a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance and a UNESCO Biosphere, a nesting habitat for birds, and a breeding ground for sea turtles. Unfortunately, El Salvador has lost 60% of its mangrove coverage since 1950 and continues to lose mangroves at a rate of 681 hectares (just under 7 square kilometers) each year (MARN 2014). Climate change, deforestation, pollution, large-scale agricultural development, and over-exploitation of natural resources continue to threaten this critical resource. This loss threatens the livelihoods and safety of the communities and wildlife that depend on the health of this ecosystem for their survival.

The MAP News, 434th Ed., 20 January 2018

Thung Yor is a small village located in Krabi Province, southern of Thailand. Some of the village area is mangrove forest which is connected to the Andaman Sea by tidal streams. Most of the villager’s main occupation is in agriculture with a supplementary livelihood from coastal small-scale fisheries. So, due to their dependence on the fishing the villagers have placed a priority on the conservation and restoration of mangroves. The community joined MAP to undertake a CBEMR project with the objective to restore 2 hectares of abandoned shrimp ponds back to mangroves. The site consists of 3 ponds as seen in the Google Earth image above with little or no tidal exchange, especially pond #2 and #3 which was were waterlogged with few mangrove seeds entering the ponds and the condition was not suitable for mangrove growth. Pond #1 remained very wet as the pond drained through the sluice gate and by the time the pond was drained the tidal starting to come back up due the semidurnal tides. ( 2 high & 2 low tides in 24 hr) Under CBEMR the priority is to restore normal tidal flushing. The community wanted to rehabilitate the mangroves but the traditional planting method would not work in this situation due to the disturbed hydrology. MAP introduced the concept of Community-based Ecological Mangrove Restoration (CBEMR) which was a completely new approach for the community but they trusted MAP and are determined to learn.

The MAP News, 433rd Ed., 06 January 2018

Our 17th edition, the 2018 calendar is our most beautiful to date, and celebrates MAP’s 25th Anniversary! This colorful calendar has increased in popularity since its first publication in 2002. Children from 14 nations entered our contest by answering a simple, but intriguing question: “What do the mangroves mean to my community and myself?” The contest is paired with field trips and lessons, encouraging students to explore the mangroves. You can make an investment in the future of these children – every penny counts. Your contribution will help students become stewards of their precious coastal resources, and to pass their knowledge on to others. The calendar gives voice to the children who will become environmentalists, leaders, and mangrove conservationists. You can also purchase the calendar directly from our online store for $15*

The MAP News, 432nd Ed., 23 December 2017

“I still remember that day we got to work together to improve the hydrology at the restoration site. Many people dug in the pond, working together and I could see that they felt that the land had returned to them again. It made me so happy. I felt like despite all the problems we faced we finally felt united in the village.” Ms. Ladda Ardharn (Pink), the youth group leader at Ban Talae Nok, was instrumental in the success of the project there and pursued solutions when the land tenure issue gridlocked the project from proceeding. At one point, she organized a petition to demand their land back. It was not easy for a young woman to take a strong and active role against an influential male community member. She and the other members of the youth group had the motivation it takes to make real, lasting change – and you can give them the technical support and opportunity to make it happen. “Since we started working on this restoration together, the people of my community have hope again.”

The MAP News, 431st Ed., 02 December 2017

When it comes to restoring deforested landscapes, letting them regenerate naturally through passive means is generally cheaper than human-driven, so-called “active,” restoration techniques like re-planting. But a new study finds it can actually also be more effective in tropical ecosystems. The authors say that letting tropical forests regenerate by themselves could help further large-scale restoration goals while at the same time saving money that could help scale-up forest restoration worldwide. The study, published recently in Science Advances, analyzed the findings from 133 other studies conducted across 115 landscapes to compare natural and active regeneration of tropical forests. Its results indicate natural restoration techniques were more successful than active restoration at restoring the biodiversity levels of birds, plants, and invertebrates, as well as vegetation structure. Specifically, the study found biodiversity in naturally regenerated landscapes was 34 percent to 56 percent higher and vegetation structure 19 percent to 56 percent higher than in areas that had been actively restored.

The MAP News, 430th Ed., 25 November 2017

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. MAP works to empower coastal communities around the world, providing support and building the local capacity to maintain stewardship over mangrove forests. MAP has chosen to remain small, partnering with other community-based non-profits in Asia, Latin America and Africa, while planting seeds of knowledge and support through a wide variety of projects and campaigns. As a result, most of MAP’s funding goes directly toward these efforts. We need your help to maintain and complete these projects.

The MAP News, 429th Ed., 11 November 2017

Environmental officials in El Salvador are trying to establish what caused the death of hundreds of sea turtles found floating in the sea. Many of the 400 marine turtles were decomposing when they were discovered off El Salvador’s Pacific coast, the country’s environment ministry said. They were found floating around 13km (eight miles) offshore from Jiquilisco Bay, a biosphere reserve located approximately 110km from the capital of San Salvador. “We don’t know what caused the sea turtles’ death,” the ministry said, adding that laboratory tests would be carried out. “We collected samples from the dead turtles,” they said. “They will be analysed in a laboratory to determine what killed them.” A similar incident occurred in 2013, when hundreds of dead sea turtles were found dead off El Salvador’s coast between September and October. Authorities at the time attributed the cause to Toxic algae eaten by the turtles.

The MAP News, 428th Ed., 28 October 2017

There once was a beautiful tropical island afloat in the pale blue waters of the Caribbean called Bimini, immortalized by Ernest Hemingway in his well-known novel “Islands in the Stream.” Luxuriant coral reefs and mangroves provided safe refuge for bountiful marine life including a myriad of fish, sharks, sea turtles and sea birds. Its quiet beaches and laid-back residents lent Bimini a special flavour of a place where sports fishermen such as Hemingway went to catch marlin and bonefish. Then everything changed as industrial-style tourism had come to Bimini. The island is now replete with five-star hotels, condos, restaurants, golf courses and marinas, all meant to attract the wealthy tourists. Large swaths of mangroves were cleared, shorelines extended by using land fill, threatening corals and sea grasses, marine life and a way of life for the local people.

The MAP News, 427th Ed., 14 October 2017

The world’s tropical forests are so degraded they have become a source rather than a sink of carbon emissions, according to a new study that highlights the urgent need to protect and restore the Amazon and similar regions. Researchers found that forest areas in South America, Africa and Asia – which have until recently played a key role in absorbing greenhouse gases – are now releasing 425 teragrams of carbon annually, which is more than all the traffic in the United States. This is a far greater loss than previously thought and carries extra force because the data emerges from the most detailed examination of the topic ever undertaken. The authors say their findings – published in the journal Science recently – should galvanise policymakers to take remedial action. “This shows that we can’t just sit back. The forest is not doing what we thought it was doing,” said Alessandro Baccini, who is one of the leader authors of the research team from Woods Hole Research Center and Boston University.

The MAP News, 426th Ed., 30 September 2017

A development plan establishing shrimp farms and timber plantations begun purportedly to reduce poverty in northern Sabah, Malaysia, has attracted criticism from local communities and NGOs, which say the project is ignoring communities’ land rights. The district of Pitas in the Malaysian state of Sabah is situated on the 40-kilometer Bengkoka peninsula on the island of Borneo, stretching east into the South China sea. This forested, hilly area slopes down to the coast along the Telaga River, through ancient mangrove forest. But since the 1980s, it has been increasingly opened up by government-sanctioned development projects; more recently, in 2013, mangrove clearance has resumed for the commercial farming of shrimp (also referred to as prawns). This resurgence has brought the company Sunlight Inno Seafood Company Sdn Bhd, which is supported by the government, into conflict with local communities that depend on the mangroves for their livelihoods.